Thursday, January 31, 2013

Knowledge is my Amour - Asha Jaffar

Asha Jaffar is a writer, university student, and a graduate of KGSA
  Asha is a graduate of Kibera Girls Soccer Academy.  Around the school, she is spoken of in legendary, mythical terms.  She is a KGSA hero.  With leadership and tenacity, Asha rose to the top and took over the school.  She was president of the Journalism Club, Head Girl, top of her class and President of the Student Board.  All these honors were well deserved.  She is witty, courageous and speaks her mind in passionately and fluently in three languages.  A vivacious reader, Asha is also kind and cheeky.  She is a loyal and compassionate daughter, sister, classmate and friend to many.

In many ways, Asha is a prophet.  She sees the truth clearly, and she is agitated by injustices in every system she is a part of.  She warns of coming times and refuses to say the expected thing to make people feel comfortable.  People listen to Asha.  She has something to say, and her passion will not let her mince words.  She hates the systemic oppression that is holding her back.  She knows the story she is a part of, and she wishes she had more power to change it.  Meanwhile, she actively looks for inspiration so that she doesn't give up.  Asha is working diligently to hone her reading, writing, interviewing, editing and radio skills so that she can continue to be an effective journalist who tells her story and the story of young women in Kibera.  She is a priceless gem in the KGSA family. 

An entry from Asha: 

"Mere passion.  This was what drove me to the search of the only amour I knew of as a young girl and even to get myself admitted in a university. Education; it was what everyone would whisper to me every time I said I wanted to be a writer, a journalist and a lawyer. To think I came from Kibera where people were viewed as unreasonable and ignoramus, they were the ones who pushed me to the road of assertiveness.  Over 10 women told me that if I wanted men to respect me, then I should go for education. Fiercely surprising, men told me the same. They only added a little spice to make it even more tantalizingly mouthwatering; that we will only love a woman who knows what was on the papers, a woman who will not ask for money every 5 minutes for household stuff, a woman who can be able to stand with her husband in a court of law and demand her rights and a woman who knows her rights and who does not want to be oppressed. 
The reasons to go to school from them were to conquer, to be superior, and to beat the men. To me going to school and to be knowledgeable was what I had always wanted. I was tired of men chauvinist, but I knew the only way I could fight them would be to get better education. Violence to me came with negative connotation, I didn’t like it. Education and Knowledge are the best weapons a human could ever have according to me if you are wondering.  I had gigantic dreams and I was very ambitious and still am. To me all that mattered in life were books, be it educative, Informative, or comic. I would get myself attached to a corner trying to understand the hard terms and the languages used; I would even read some book with a dictionary attached to my thighs.  To me knowledge is very dear,  I was always taught that without education life would be miserable, of course that was not true but coming from Kibera then it was supposed to have an impact on me somehow.

I started cultivating my dreams, when I was in high school - Kibera Girls Soccer Academy; I joined as a very quiet and a serious person which saw me getting picked in some of the student’s leadership posts. What interested me most in the school was when I became a member of the journalism club, it has always been my dream to do a documentary or write an article. The journalism club when I joined had only 7 students most from the from the senior classes, the other ones were from junior classes were never interested, but I was! The teachers and the interns who came to the school left a mark in me, they encouraged me to be strong, and aggressive when it comes to knowledge.

One day as I was loitering around the Kibera girls soccer, trying to get the different places mastered, it was not a big school but I wanted to know every part of the school. I saw some students gathered together looking at something, I wasn’t able to see what they were looking at, so I walked some few inches and I got to where they were. There I saw a thing, sort of a computer, which know I know is a laptop.  I felt so happy to see such “technology.”  It was not a big school with a million students but it was something else these students were being introduced to computer by a very young teacher Mr. Teka, I quickly cut the teacher short and asked immaturely “can I join this club?” and he said “yes of course”. I was so damn elated! It could not be described with words. Beautiful things can never be defined by words we only glow or smile or excrete some tears. It was in K.G.S.A where I started career as a journalist.

If I am to give any thanks, or gratitude I would definitely give it to girls soccer, I learned how to edit when I worked with Ryan, and though he was a little strict I loved working with him. I became an editor at the age of 16 when I was in form two for the journalism club and now that I am pursuing this course in university.  I look back and express gratitude to the people who were there when I was growing up in the field of journalism.  People like Tim, who came to see us and ended up facilitating us to come up with a magazine that I typed with a one hand until Ryan showed me how to place my finger while typing.  All the  articles typed in our small computer room that was cramped up, and very beautiful, had those big computers of the past centuries that was back in back in 2009.

Asha on her way home
 I managed to type impressively the first time I went to college, I was even better than all the students in my class. I was able to express myself better. I was able to speak English, because I interacted with people who came to K.G.S.A and because I read a lot. When my lecturer asked one day asked how many books I read, I stumbled trying to remember all of them they were so many.   Miraculously the student who Ryan took her hands and put them on the keyboard can now type! The girl who sat at the library telling Ryan and Sean that she needed more books has now read and had developed a reading habit. If it weren’t for girls’ soccer then I would have poor communication skills, poor typing speed and poor editing skills, and a poor writer.  

All these skills came as a package of being in Kibera Girls soccer. It is a small school but the knowledge surpasses the building. I was taught how to edit sound and in school I will be taught that, and I will have to show off during that lesson just as I showed off in the interviewing class. Thanks to Ellie who I worked for as an intern I got skills that no university could teach me in in –depth. Where I came from (Kibera girls soccer reduced blocks on my road to success)"

-Asha Jaffar